“Poor Unfortunate Soul” | Once Upon A Time
When we first met Ursula, Merrin Dungey was playing her with a distinct hollowness – allowing viewers to understand that whatever had made her heart cold, came from a deep loss of some sort. As we finally got her backstory and learned about the loss of her voice, we were able to see that her villainy came from the fact that she was robbed of something that allowed her to bring joy to people. And when Ursula reunited with her father after her voice had been restored, you could see light fill the voids left in Ursula’s heart. Dungey’s subtly evocative expressiveness did an impeccable of job of layering Ursula. We found ourselves intrigued mostly with how raw she seemed as a villain, but more so a person (with eight arms). We were able to see a complex woman amidst the tough exterior and most importantly we were able to see heart. The poignancy in her exquisite happiness felt natural – allowing us to really adore her in the end. Dungey was serenely expressiveness as Ursula the woman, and strategically genius as Ursula the sea witch. Merrin Dungey has done a remarkable job bringing to life an iconic character with strength, grace, charisma, and most wonderfully – heart.